SERAP Reacts As Court Orders Release Of Payment Details For Runway Electricity Contractors

SERAP Threatens To Sue UI, AAUA Over Increased Fees

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has reacted to last Friday’s judgment of the Federal High court in Lagos, which ordered the immediate release of details of payments to all defaulting and allegedly corrupt electricity contractors and companies by the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Goodluck Jonathan, and the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

In a statement by its deputy director, Mr. Kolawole Oluware, SERAP says, “we welcome the ground-breaking judgment by Justice Obiozor as a victory for transparency and accountability of public officials, electrical contractors and companies and their shareholders. It is an extremely important step toward tackling the impunity in the electricity sector, which has for many years forced ordinary Nigerians to stay in darkness, but still made to pay crazy electricity bills.”

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The statement further provides the details as ordered by the court to be disclosed and widely published on a dedicated website to include information on: specific names and details about contractors and companies paid by each government, the total amounts paid by each government and the objects for the payments, the level of implementation of electricity projects, as well as details and specific locations of projects executed across the country by each government since 1999.

SERAP, therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to demonstrate his commitment to the rule of law by immediately obeying and respecting the judgment of the court.

Below is a full statement by SERAP.

Public Statement Court orders release of details of payments to runaway electricity contractors by OBJ, Yar’Adua, GEJ, Buhari (1)

 

Osinbajo Reacts To Obasanjo’s Comments On TraderMoni [FULL STATEMENT]

 

Professor Yemi Osinbajo has said that the statement by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on the Federal Government’s TraderMoni microcredit scheme is either a clear sign of the former President’s “ignorance or mischief”.

This is according to a statement by Mr. Laolu Akande, a senior special aide to the Vice President on media and publicity.

Akande’s communique asserted that “It is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission.”

The rejoinder further said that Obasanjo has demonstrated “a surprising but complete misunderstanding of the workings of TraderMoni, that is if we assume there is no mischief intended.”

The rejoinder also noted that “Attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the masses of our people is a direct attack on the people and this kind of conduct does not reflect very well on a former president but is only self-denigrating and of no public value”.

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Below is the full statement as sent out by the Senior Special Assistant-Media&Publicity to the Vice President.

“Obasanjo’s attack on TraderMoni reflects either his ignorance or mischief – Presidency

(Statement attributable to Laolu Akande)

The statement purportedly attributed to former president Olusegun Obasanjo regarding Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and the Federal Government’s TraderMoni microcredit scheme if, indeed true and accurate, is most unfortunate, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande.

While responding to media inquiries regarding the former president’s comments over the weekend, Akande noted that “it is either that the former leader is ignorant of the true workings of Trader Moni and the role of the Vice President in its implementation or perhaps he is on a mischievous mission.”

According to Akande, the former President has demonstrated “a surprising but complete misunderstanding of the workings of TraderMoni, that is if we assume there is no mischief intended. “

Firstly, the Vice President does not personally distribute money during his visits to the markets. He goes there to assess the progress of the implementation and to create awareness for a programme designed to meet the financing need of 2 million petty traders across the country in the first instance.

Secondly, while one will not bother to further address the issue of timing of the implementation since such issues are now known to be political posturing, it is important to note that TraderMoni is being actively implemented across all states of the federation and the FCT. It is not only Lagos and Abuja as was insinuated.

These petty traders at the bottom of the economic ladder, with an inventory often less than N5,000, are beneficiaries of the TraderMoni scheme which provides N10,000 collateral/interest-free loans to them, empowerment that improves their small businesses, their families, while also contributing significantly to the economy.

Thirdly, in what is certainly a curious comment, the former President has also been quoted as describing the TraderMoni scheme as idiotic. To label such people-friendly scheme as idiotic is not only an absurdity, it is also an affront to the sensibilities of these hard working Nigerians, the beneficiaries of the micro-credit scheme.

For emphasis, the Bank of Industry implements the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP, one part of our Social Investment Programme. Enumeration Agents have been engaged to visit the markets and other points where petty traders are found to confirm that they are traders and also take their biometric information for recording purposes. After the enumeration, the N10,000 collateral free loans are then disbursed electronically through the petty traders’ phones.

TraderMoni is designed to meet the needs of the larger population of petty traders at the bottom of the pyramid who do not meet the more stringent criteria of BVN, bank accounts, market associations, cooperatives, required for bigger Market Moni loans.

Under GEEP – which has MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and TraderMoni, at least 1.5 million Nigerians are already beneficiaries of the three-pronged approach of GEEP, while N-Power has created jobs for 500,000 young Nigerians graduates, besides non-graduates. Also, almost 300,000 Nigerians have benefitted from the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), which is given to the poorest and most vulnerable among us, and over 9.2 million school pupils are being fed a free meal daily in 26 states under the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

It bears repetition that higher economic growth potentials are associated with lower income inequality. This makes a most overwhelming case for welfare payments like the social investment schemes like the TraderMoni/MarketMoni schemes. Such a micro-credit scheme provides a higher rate of inclusion into the financial bracket and is crucial in lifting hardworking people out of poverty as has been the case in other countries like India and Brazil.

Fourthly, the former president also rehashed discredited claims suggesting that TraderMoni beneficiaries were required to tender their PVCs, and questioned the timing of the implementation.

Let me, therefore, state again that beneficiaries of TraderMoni are not required to show their Personal Voters Cards (PVCs) or any document indicating their political affiliations to qualify for the loans. This is why the enumeration is done in the open markets and wherever the traders ply their trade. This issue has been addressed several times by the Presidency in the public space. Therefore the former president’s alleged comments smirk of outright mischief as it regurgitates blatant falsehood.

Equally, if the former president had conducted a simple act of diligence, he would have found that the National Assembly had approved this programmes and budgeted for them duly.

When President Muhammadu Buhari came into office, one of the major hinges of this administration was to uplift the common man out of poverty and ensure the welfare of ordinary Nigerians. TraderMoni is one of such schemes conceived in 2016 under the Social Investment Programme of this administration.

Being a former president, Chief Obasanjo ordinarily should appreciate the impact of such far-reaching social investment schemes, which has provided what is now the largest social safety net for millions of Nigerians and is unprecedented in the nation’s history.

Again, the former president’s attack on TraderMoni and the person of the Vice President is an indicator that he may be wittingly or unwittingly playing to the sinister script of the opposition party to spread falsehood and attack the social investment programmes of the Buhari administration, which champions such impactful schemes, and which is now attracting the praise and commendation of Nigerians everywhere.

It is pertinent to state that the false allegations against TraderMoni raised again by the former president is sadly a rehash of baseless claims previously made by leading chieftains of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, whose record of profligacy, corruption and mismanagement clearly show it has no agenda to uplift the common man or improve the lives of Nigerians.

Finally, attacks such as this on a scheme that benefits the masses of our people is a direct attack on the people and this kind of conduct does not reflect very well on a former president but is only self-denigrating and of no public value. As is already now obvious, the generality of the Nigerian people will not only reject that attack but will also condemn its source. We, therefore, urge the former president to be far more circumspect and more public-spirited in his utterances going forward.

January 21, 2019”

 

Full Text Of Obasanjo’s Statement About ‘PDP Come Back Plea’

During last week when I was in South Africa as the Chairman of AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan and while with my fellow Commissioners, we were deliberating on how to help that new country out of its problem of security and violence, I received avalanche of news and cacophony of appeals and pleadings from some quarters of PDP leadership.

There are misunderstandings and misrepresentations which some of those appeals and pleas manifested; hence this explanation from me. Talking of inviting me back to PDP is wrong and it is a great misrepresentation as I have never left PDP and I will never leave PDP. I have said it before and I will say it again, I rose to become the President of Nigeria on the platform of PDP and for that reason alone, I will remain a card-carrying and ward-active member of PDP for as long as I have to be a political party member.

Secondly, nobody has personally offended me as a result of my membership of PDP. If, however, anybody or group feels offended by my continued membership, I will offer an unreserved apology but continue to remain in the Party. I have had occasions to say to the President, the Senate President and the Party Chairman separately that I have no quarrel with any individual or group in the Party. There are, for me, issues of principle, morality, honour , integrity, commitment and character which are paramount.

For instance, as a former President of Nigeria, the Chairman of West Africa Commission on Drug and a member of Global Commission on Drug, I cannot accept that the Zonal leader of my political Party and, worse still in my zone, will be an indicted drug baron wanted in America. How do I explain that to friends outside Nigeria? This is only one of the many issues that I have pointed and still pointing out.

I have national and international standard to maintain and reputation to keep and sustain. For these reasons, I opted to remain active only at the ward level of the Party till the leadership does the needful.

But under no condition will my commitment to Nigeria be diminished. And, for me, it is commitment to Nigeria first and any other commitment can only follow in second or third place. Where any other commitment is in tandem with what I see and understand as commitment to Nigeria, such other commitment will share a pride of place with Nigeria.

I must hasten to thank the President, the Senate President and the Chairman of PDP with whom, at their instances, these issues have been discussed and laid to rest. My interest and commitment to Nigeria go beyond partisan politics.

Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck to deal with our pressing problems of security including the issue of Chibok girls, widening inequality, infrastructure, impunity, corruption, poverty and youth education, skill-acquisition, empowerment and employment. These are issues of concern to most Nigerians. We all need to join hands to move Nigeria forward. I don’t need to be begged for that.

Rather, I beg and appeal to those who are begging me to realize that we must put Nigeria’s interest above politics – party or personal – otherwise, we will all be judged at the bar of history if not the bar of current affairs. In addition, we must preserve, sustain and deepen democracy and democratic practices.
Statement by former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Jonathan, Obasanjo Trade Words Over Fight Against Boko Haram

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted the Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government’s anti-terror strategy as he called for more efforts in ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the country.

Mr Obasanjo, in an interview with CNN aired on Tuesday, said the government’s approach to fighting Boko Haram would not lead to the quick resolution of the insecurity the Islamic sect has unleashed on the country since 2009.

According to him, more could be done to reach out to Boko Haram to find out what had led the sect to wage a war against the state.

He urged the administration of President Jonathan to adopt a multifaceted approach rather than just cracking down on the group.

“To deal with a group like that, you need a carrot and stick approach. The carrot is finding out how to reach out to them. When you try to reach out to them and they are not amenable to being reached out to, you have to use the stick,” he said.

The former president said President Jonathan was “just using the stick” in his efforts, adding, “He’s doing one aspect of it well, but the other aspect must not be forgotten.”

He said that he had tried to reach out to Boko Haram about a year and a half ago through a lawyer who was acting as the group’s proxy, and had asked if they had external backing.

The lawyer, he added, told him that the group was receiving support from other Nigerians who have resources overseas or “other organisations from abroad.”

“If they had 25 percent support a year and a half ago, today that support has doubled,” the former president said.

Asked if Boko Haram’s activity was undermining progress in Nigeria, Mr Obasanjo said, “Boko Haram undermines security, and anything that undermines security undermines development, undermines education, undermines health, undermines agriculture and food and nutrition and security,” he said.

Jonathan fights back

Apparently angered by Mr Obasanjo’s assertions that he was not doing enough to stem the activities of terrorist group, Boko Haram in Nigeria, President Jonathan lashed out at the former president, describing him as a confused and unstable man.

President Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati took to Twitter to express the anger of the presidency over Mr Obasanjo’s comment , labelling him a confused man whose counsel or view the government does not care about.

In four different tweets, Mr Abati said, “In Nov. 2012 in Warri, fmr Prez. Obasanjo accused federal govt of being soft on Boko Haram. He recommended the Odi solution: genocide.

“In Jan.2013, OBJ tells CNN Govt shd adopt a carrot and stick approach to Boko Haram. Genocide & dialogue? Where exactly does he stand?

“OBJ’s position on Boko Haram= Contradiction and Confusion writ large.

“One report says OBJ is recommending a multifaceted approach to Boko Haram. This govt certainly doesn’t need a lecture on that!

“Jonathan administration has shown creativity & purposefulness in handling the BH challenge. Hence, the progress we witness.”